“President Ronald Reagan didn’t seek congressional approval when he bombed Libya in retaliation for a bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.”
Amber Phillips — Washington Post (April 7 2017)
“The result is post-truth discourse. In our new normal, experts are dismissed, alternative facts are (sometimes flagrantly) offered, and public figures can offer opinions on pretty much anything. And thanks to social media, pretty much anyone can be a public figure. In much public discourse, identity outranks arguments, and we are seeing either a lack of interest in evidence, or worse, an erosion of trust in the fundamental norms around people’s accountability for the things we say.”
Nick Enfield — The Guardian (November 16 2017)
April 11 2017 — In a piece published by the Washington Post on April 7 2017, Amber Phillips writes that President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 bombing raid on Tripoli and Benghazi was retaliation for the 1988 attack on Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. This is — of course — NONSENSE. Welcome to the post-truth world!
Eventually, the NYT wrote some kind of an erratum: “This report originally incorrectly stated which international bombing President Reagan’s 1986 bombing of Libya was in retaliation for.” Thank you. One should always be grateful for the little things.
But this ‘Freudian slip’ is nevertheless interesting. Let us take a quick look back at the official US disinformation program against Libya in 1986. There is no doubt that this affair should have been a major scandal if it had not been eclipsed by a bigger one a few days later: the Iran-Contra conspiracy. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
The bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi took place on 15 April 1986. Pan Am 103 was destroyed over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988. So, Amber Phillips and her Washington Post editor are obviously dead wrong. Instead of smearing U.S. news sites that are critical of U.S. foreign policy, the Post should work a bit harder on its own stories… Full Stop.
If you read this blog, chances are they you are familiar with the Iran-Contra Affair. At the same time, it is quite likely that you have never heard of a major US scandal that was running parallel to the Iran-Contra Operation.
The two operations were in fact two branches of a single policy. If the delivery of weapons to Iran was the “Carrot” part of the plan suggested in the 1985 “Fuller MEMORANDUM”, the disinformation regarding “Libyan terrorism” was the “Stick”.
The facts are well documented. But as the world — and the US Congress — discovered with horror the Iran-Contra Affair, the “Libyan Scandal” was quickly forgotten… There never was an investigation. And only one person resigned over this affair.
“Bernard Kalb resigned today (08 October 1986) as chief spokesman for Secretary of State George P. Shultz in protest of the government’s disinformation program directed at Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi. (…)
He said his choice was to remain at the department and vanish into acquiescence or to quit in protest.” LA Times
Here is the story of one of the major US scandals you may never had heard of.
Reagan and the 1986 “Libyan Terrorism” Disinformation Op
08 January 1986
STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT IN LIBYA UNDER QADDAFI New York Times
“Qaddafi has used terrorism as one of the primary instruments of his foreign policy and supports radical groups which use terrorist tactics.”
The report lists the anti-US illegal activities of Libya in Europe, Africa, the near and far-east, Central and Latin America as well as direct threats against the US.
The Reports specifically names the activities of Qaddafi in Nicaragua and his support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command.
The Report concludes : “Qaddafi has abused diplomatic privilege for terrorist purposes, reneged on international agreements and blatantly used terrorist violence against political opponents. In addition, Qaddafi’s support of terrorism, regardless of his direct operational involvement in a given terrorist act, helps legitimize terrorism as an acceptable political activity. “
05 April 1986
La Belle Disco bombing; Reagan accuses Libya
Evidence: a pair of intercepted cable transmissions from the Libyan People’s Bureau–its embassy–in East Berlin.
A witness names the cables’ recipient as Said Rashid.
[INTEL TODAY: This is the “Said Rashid” who allegedly ordered the MST-13 timers from a Swiss company MEBO. The owner of MEBO — Edwin Bollier — claims that he delivered the first series of MST-13 timers to Rashid in Libya sometimes between September and November 1985. According to the Lockerbie trial, Pan Am 103 was destroyed with the use of this type of timer. NB: Bollier’s passport has no Libya entry stamp for this period.]
“The despicable attack in Berlin fits the pattern of increased Libyan activities including Rome and Vienna. We have suspicions that this bombing is part of that pattern.” Bernard Kalb.
German authorities do not support this theory.
Christian Lochte, Head of the Hamburg Branch of the BfV speaks on TV the next week: “I cannot rule out that Libya, in some way, is responsible. But I must say that such hasty blame regarding Rome and Vienna, for which Libya had immediately been made responsible, did not prove to be correct.”
14 April 1986
US President Ronald Reagan orders retaliatory strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi
France denies airspace
Malta warns Tripoli. Le Monde , NYT (See 06/08/1986)
The week after the raid, Reagan said: “If their government continues its campaign of terror against Americans, we will act again.”
17 July 1986
The US Senate ratified the Supplementary Extradition Treaty (Supplementary Treaty) between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“The pact was eagerly sought by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who seeks the return of Irish Republican Army members accused of crimes in Great Britain.”
NYT PACT WITH BRITAIN ON EXTRADITIONS BACKED BY SENATE
“President Reagan had asked for quick Senate approval of the treaty as a sign of gratitude to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her support of the April 14 U.S. bombing raid against Libya.”
About the 1986 U.S. bombing of Tripoli, Thatcher wrote in her 1993 memoirs:
“There were revenge killings of British hostages organized by Libya, which I bitterly regretted. But the much vaunted Libyan counter-attack did not and could not take place.”
[INTEL TODAY: EXCUSE ME? What does it mean about Lockerbie? Two Libyan citizens were indicted in 1991!]
23 July 1986
Alleged Libyan Plot to Bomb US Embassy in Lomé, Togo.
Togo’s Interior minister Lade said that “two suitcases, which were loaded with explosives, an automatic pistol, and three grenades, were intercepted. These containers had been sent from Libya to its embassy in Cotonu, the capital of neighboring Benin, and the transshipped to Togo.” (See 11&13/08/1986)
06 August 1986
NYT: MALTA SAYS LIBYA GOT A TIP ON RAID
07 August 1986
NSC Letter; Op VECTOR
Howard R Teicher proposes “to shame France into joining in some action… White House might have to go around the civilian government and rely and military to military channels… as political channels have failed earlier this year.”
“Given the stated desire of some French general officers to cooperate with us against Gadhafi, we might actively encourage them to sell the proposal to their civilian leadership.”
Around this day – DDI Richard Kerr and Tom Twetten are sent to the White House to explain what the CIA could do “to apply psychological pressure on Gaddafi”.
Twetten said it would be no problem for the CIA “to plant false stories in publications abroad” to unnerve Gadaffi.
[NOTE: Matthew Gannon — a CIA officer who died at Lockerbie — was the son-in-law of Tom Twetten.]
10 August 1986
“Prime Minister Mifsud Bonnici said the planes were picked up on radar 30 to 45 minutes before the raid, and Libya was notified shortly thereafter.”
11 August 1986
Togo’s Interior Minister: “A terrorist attack on the United States Embassy here using explosives sent from Libya has been thwarted.” NYT
13 August 1986
Le Monde: Plot against US Embassy in Lomé
The information was discussed in a four-States mini-summit. Although Senegal is not a member state of this summit, its defense minister was invited.
14 August 1986
11AM. Reagan meets with Shultz, Weinberger, Casey, Poindexter and Admiral William Crowe (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
“Poindexter lavished praise on Defense, saying that the April 14 raid had been technically impressive, that it had deterred terrorism…”
Poindexter Memo is agreed.
The MEMO states: “U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in August that Gadhafi was quiescent on the terrorist front.”
16 August 1986
Reagan signs NSDD: Deception and disinformation.
Top Secret. Code word VEIL
25 August 1986
Wall Street Journal: Collision course
“Libya is plotting new terrorist attacks”
26 August 1986
“Officials indicated today that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was planning terrorist attacks, and the White House warned that it was prepared to take whatever action is necessary to thwart the Libyan leader. ”
NYT: U.S. SAYS LIBYA MAY HAVE PLANS FOR NEW TERROR
27 August 1986
”The Reagan Administration has perhaps launched a deliberate campaign of disinformation.”
Le Monde Un nouveau raid sur la Libye?
23 September 1986
Attempted Coup in Togo; “MST-13 Timers appearance” . US team brings one timer back to Washington.
Keep in mind that without this MST-13 timer, PT/35(b) [The key evidence in the Lockerbie investigation] would not have helped the Lockerbie investigators since it would never have been matched to a MST-13 MEBO timer.
02 October 1986
Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan
Elaborate Campaign Included Disinformation That Appeared as Fact in American Media.
Washington Post, Bob Woodward
03 October 1986
“Disinformation Program” widely covered in the US; 5 stories in the NYT, 3 on the front page!
“Your White House, specifically your national security adviser, constructed an operation whereby the free press in this country was going to be used to convey a false story to the world, namely that Qaddafi was planning new terrorist operations.”
03 October 1986
In the evening, Shultz speaks to reporters at a Press Briefing:
There is a wonderful book that you might read… And the title of it is from a quote from Winston Churchill: “In time of war, the truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
04 October 1986
Senator William S. Cohen, Republican of Maine, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he grew worried last summer while reading news reports indicating that Colonel Gaddafi had become increasingly unstable and was facing internal threats.
”That did not seem consistent with other information I was looking at, Cohen said. I can only conclude that the reports were without foundation or someone was deliberately seeking to plant such information.”
08 October 1986
Bernard Kalb resigned today as chief spokesman for Secretary of State George P. Shultz in protest of the government’s “disinformation” program directed at Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.
03 November 1986
The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the Iran-contra scandal.
INTEL TODAY: What do you think about the Lockerbie verdict? [Poll Result – March 2019]
Robert Black QC FRSE – Professor Emeritus of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh and best known as the “Architect of the Lockerbie Trial” — has written : “The Lockerbie trial is the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years. Every lawyer who has read the judgment says ‘this is nonsense’. It is nonsense.” Obviously, a few people agree.
Most Intel Today readers (88%) believe that the Lockerbie verdict is a spectacular miscarriage of justice.
I understand that a similar poll among Scotland lawyers would be even more devastating.
RELATED POST: Lockerbie & the Glorious ‘Conspiracy Theorists’
Truth never dies.
For those interested in the Lockerbie Trial tragedy, I recommend the excellent blog of Professor Black: TheLockerbieCase. Those who want to study the forensic history of PT/35(b) will find many resources and original documents on the PT35B blog. Also, you may want to check the blog of Dr Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph: The LockerbieTruth.
Lockerbie Pan Am 103 Bombing Dec 21, 1988
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When the Washington Post rewrites History
One Year Ago — The Washington Post rewrites History
Two Years Ago — The Washington Post rewrites History [Lockerbie]